Today I have the wonderful C.J. Skuse back on my blog with another interview and a giveaway of her book Dead Romantic!
1. Tell me about Dead Romantic.
Dead Romantic is best described as Weird Science for girls - with body parts thrown in. It’s about two teenage girls who try to build the perfect boyfriend using corpses, but it’s not as grisly as that pitch suggests. It’s a very black comedy with the emphasis on the comedy. It’s also a bit of a love story too. As the novel goes on the girls – Camille and Zoe - begin to understand that they’re looking in the wrong places for the thing they most desire. For both of them, the thing they really need is right in front of their eyes – not six feet underground.
2. Where did the idea come from?
I was writing my second book Rockoholic and reading a lot of Stephen King (who is namechecked several times in the book) and I learned he wrote a very early short story called I Was a Teenage Graverobber (which I trawled bookshops and the internet for but never found) and I became hooked on writing a story about teenage grave robbers. One day I was watching one of my favourite 80s movies Weird Science about two boys who create the perfect woman using their computer and I merged the two ideas together. I wanted to test whether or not a subject as abhorrent as grave-robbing could be made comical. The other obvious references to Shelley’s Frankenstein, H.P. Lovecraft’s Herbert West: Reanimator and Robert Louis Stephenson’s The Bodysnatchers are also in there too.
3. What are some of your favourite Horror/Halloween reads?
Anything by Stephen King and absolutely anything featuring serial killers. I prefer non-fiction serial killer books in general. I recently read Killing for Company: The Case of Dennis Nilsen by Brian Masters and that creeped me out for weeks. There’s nothing in fiction that comes close to the horrors of what some humans will do to others, in my opinion.
4. What do you love about writing this kind of genre?
I don’t think Dead Romantic offers anything new to the horror genre to be honest so I doubt I could make a living writing this kind of book! I enjoyed researching body snatching though – I found that really interesting. Death is an endless source of fascination for me and is a key ingredient to all my novels.
5. If you could choose any people to play the main characters who would you choose?
Well the people I picked originally when I was writing the novel would be way too old to play these characters if a film were to be made anytime soon, but in my head the characters have always been - Camille (Lisa Blackwell, aka Pandora from Series 3 and 4 of Skins); Zoe (Frances Bean Cobain with black hair); Damian (Jack O’Connell) and Louis (Josh Hutcherson as he looked in the movie Detention).
6. Who are some of your favourite authors?
There are so many to choose from I don’t know where to start. I’ve recently enjoyed both of Ruth Ware’s psychological thriller novels In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 and I’ve always loved YA authors Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess and John Green. I was introduced to adult novels by the books of Gillian White and I’ll always love Kenneth Grahame for his The Golden Age and Dream Days books (I was obsessed with them in my teens). I’m dying to read Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land which comes out next year and I can’t wait for the world to discover Amy, Chelsea, Stacie, Dee by Mary Thompson (2017), which is one of the best YA novels I’ve ever read.
7. Are you working on anything at the moment?
Yes, I’ve just handed in the first draft of Sweetpea, my adult thriller novel about a female serial killer which has been billed as Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Dexter, and this comes out next April 2017. I’m currently drafting up some ideas for the sequel.
Camille wants to find the perfect boy, with an athlete's body and a poet's brain. But when she's mocked at a college party, she knows there isn't a boy alive who'll ever measure up. Enter Zoe, her brilliant but strange best friend, who takes biology homework to a whole new level. She can create Camille's dream boy, Frankenstein-stylee. But can she make him love her?
C J Skuse, author of Pretty Bad Things, Rockoholic and Dead Romantic, was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, works as a freelance children’s fiction consultant and lectures in Writing for Children at Bath Spa University.
C J loves Masterchef, Gummy Bears and murder sites. She hates carnivals, hard-boiled eggs and coughing. The movies Titanic, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Ruby Sparks were all probably based on her ideas; she just didn't get to write them down in time. Before she dies, she would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and have Ryan Gosling present her with the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
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